Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shrunken Sweater Therapy

This project was not something I planned or even wanted to do…it began as a therapy project to help me deal with a sweater that was accidentally shrunk in the laundry. Currently I am still working on it and this unplanned project has become quite enjoyable. For anyone who has a shrunken sweater or just something old that you want to bring back to life, here are some ideas - I don't think any of them are all that original, but as part of my therapy, I must share them with you.

Like most projects, there is a story that goes along with it. I don't normally write such long blogs and it may seem silly for me to use up so much space for a sweater...but if you've ever had a comforting sweater like this, perhaps you can relate. So, if you are only interested in my entry for the eco-project contest then please scroll past the next 2 paragraphs...

This sad sweater story began the day I carelessly left my cozy angora hoodie on the floor next to a random pile of laundry. Since it is always my husbands chore to do the wash, he assumed it was part of the pile and simply added my wooly sweater to the mix of coloured laundry. A completely understandable assumption to make, and the biggest laundry mistake of my life. So, needless to say the sweater was history…He brought the sweater up from the dryer about 3 sizes smaller than it's original. I couldn't hide my shock and disappointment when I saw it. I am embarrassed to say I actually had to leave the room and shed a couple tears for my most favourite sweater. My husband felt terrible, even though it wasn't his fault - but I think my dramatic reaction was enough to make anyone feel bad. After this childish tantrum was out of my system I buried the fluff of grey in the back of my closet because I just couldn't bare to look at it. I couldn't even bring myself to let the sweater go to goodwill - even though I know it would be a wonderful fit for a child. I had far too much attachment to this wonderful piece of soft lovliness - how could I let that go?

A couple weeks ago the contest for eco-projects on Craftsanity was announced and I thought about my lost sweater. Now that the initial grieving process had run it's course, I decided to retrieve this sweater out of the depths of my closet and do something with it. Originally I wanted to just make a fluffy cushion out of it and put it on our bed so I could cozy up anytime I missed wearing the sweater. I thought I'd just spend a couple evenings putting it together and then post a picture for the contest. But as I held my breath and started cutting up the fibre, a whole new realm of possibilities began to unfold - and it is still in progress today! Please join me on my journey to revive my broken sweater. Here are some ideas that I've started on this week and if you like where it's headed, come back in the coming weeks to see how I progress!

The project ~

First of all, before I did any cutting, I sent my little sweater back to the washing machine to make sure it was completely felted and ready to sew. Yes, this was difficult, but I took a moment to remember my good friend before hitting the hot/cold wash cycle. When it came out, and dried, I started cutting the sleeves off first, then the hood.

At this point, I discovered that I could still wear the torso piece as a vest!

Then I found that if I wanted to, I could convert the sleeves into fingerless gloves - (simply cut a couple holes for the thumbs and cut at the desired length) I had thought about embroidering some fun designs on these new gloves or knitting up Mrs. Beeton by Brenda Dayne to tuck under those sleeves for a fun removable sleeve.

But, I was still thinking about the pillow I wanted to make, so I decided to cut up the sleeves after all. I also used my husbands old plaid shirt to make up where the sweater was short. I'm sure there are many crafty people out there who would make something much more pleasing out of the materials, but I have limited sewing skills, so here it is - still in progress. I'm going to add buttons on the side to keep it closed and I'm also going to embroider some sort of flower design on it.

Here is what I'm playing with right now...stay tuned for excellent updates!

And let's not forget about the hood. How about a cute little modern bonnet for a baby? I'm about to attach some simple felt flowers along the bottom to hide the hacked up seam (I've photoshoped them in for you to see what I'm talking about). It is so soft and it just needs a button to complete this little project. So easy!

I feel much better now that my sweater has a new life now. Thanks to Jennifer of Craftsanity for offering this contest - you helped me face the sadness of losing my favourite sweater and I'm so happy that I've been able to give it new life!


Kaya said...

Yay, I'm glad your sweater has gone on to a new life - in more than one form! Inspiring.

Not So Crafty Husband said...

Honestly, crying over a sweater? I mean, when you really think about it, you made a sacrifice for the greater good of art...or craftiness...or whatever the hell you call it. To celebrate your breakthrough, I have taken the rest of your wardrobe, washed it in hot water, and dried it at the highest setting. Who knows what ideas you'll get from that (I'm guessing something to do with emasculation).

Anonymous said...

OMG Two years ago my best friend stopped the homecoming dance when she entered!
She was staggeringly dressed in a gorgeous knee length white halter angora dress and had an equally fluffy pale yellow angora bolero hugging her shoulders. It looked like she had just stepped out of the 50’s, especially when her date had worn a white evening dress suit with a pale yellow shirt and tie. They should have been crowned king and queen, but they did win the best dressed couple! I later found out that the dress and top was her dates sisters and she and her brother, had been bridesmaid and best man, at their older brothers wedding. The bride had worn an all white 100% angora dress and wrap. I still haven’t seen the pictures of the wedding yet, but they must have been even more stunning than Jayne and Jake at the homecoming! I must admit I do have a thing for angora, it feels so good and sexy wearing it and I’ve also borrowed the dress and top Jayne wore a couple of times and my fiancé can’t keep his hands off me. He wants me to get married in angora too!